800 workers hospitalized with food poisoning in southern Vietnam

TN News

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The government office has asked authorities in the southern province of Binh Duong to investigate and report on the cause of a food poisoning case that hospitalized nearly 800 workers from a South Korean-owned company this week.

The order came as provincial health officials were investigating the case at Hansoll Vina Co., Ltd., a textile company in Di An Town, Vietnam News Agency reported on Saturday.

Nguyen Van Dat, chief of the Binh Duong Agency of Food Safety and Hygiene, said they had taken eight samples of food at the company's kitchen for tests and the results would be out in a couple of days.

The workers started vomiting and having stomach aches with dizziness after having meals cooked in the company kitchen. The raw materials for the food were provided by Ho Chi Minh City-based Hoa Lan Company under a contract, Dat said.

However, the kitchen's manager failed to present documents proving the materials' origin during an agency inspection on Thursday night after the poisoning, Dat said.

Moreover, the agency that day found that raw materials were stored "messily", while the kitchen had stagnant water because its drainage system did not work. Utensils were also found to be old, rusty and "unhygienic," the news agency said.

In the meantime, as of Friday, 254 of the 756 hospitalized workers had yet to be discharged, while the rest had gone home, the news report quoted the food hygiene agency as saying

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According to the agency, the workers were among 1,609 people who had either rice with pork and vegetables, or rice vermicelli with cha ca (grilled fish) offered as the two options for their meal that day.

They had the meal at 4.30 p.m. and about 30 minutes later some of them started having food poisoning symptoms, and soon nearly 1,000 people had the same symptoms.

However, related agencies said part of the problem might have been the psychological impact of seeing others fall sick.

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